our site has now moved

Over the past year things have been very busy here at lencomotion audio, and we have had to make the transition from our simple Blog to something more workable. So, we would like to announce our new Blog and on-line shop which you can find here at lencomotion audio

As well as providing a much easier way to order our products, the new site will continue to provide information on interesting HiFi products. We will, of course, continue to provide news of our own product developments here at lencomotion audio.

We hope you like the new site, and we are always happy to receive comments on products, or the site in general.

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introducing the ´El Cid´ MkII interconnect

Originally introduced as a limited ´one-off´ run, the ´El Cid´ interconnect has proven to be much more popular than expected. Problems with sourcing some of the necessary materials, and requests for a more aesthetically appealing appearance led to a rethink of the cables design. After a bit of effort a new sheathing material has been found, and more importantly, a higher quality cable.

EL_CID_MkII_01

The new cable has improved specifications and build quality over the original. In particular, the capacitance has dropped from 65pf/m to 63pf/m. I know, this isn´t a massive change, but an improvement none the less. Along with the new sheathing material and cable there are also new phono plugs. The original Neutrik Rean plugs will still be available, but the default phono plugs will now be Amphenol Audio. The Amphenol plugs don´t differ dramatically from the Neutrik´s in materials, or build quality, but having the plug bodies in different colours makes the right and left channels easier to identify. Lastly, a new higher silver content solder is being used on these  ´El Cid MkII´ cables.

EL_CID_MkII_connector

The first couple of pairs of the new interconnect are now in the main audio system for testing, and first impressions are very good. The setup is using a 0.5m pair from CineMag SUT to Bottlehead Reduction phono stage, and a 1.0m pair from the phono stage to the preamplifier. The differences between the MkII, and the original ´El Cid´ cables is subtle, but there is certainly a bit more refinement in the upper end. From a practical point of view the cable is easier to handle, and a little more aesthetically pleasing.

The Mk II cable is more expensive to build due of the new parts, and this is reflected in the new prices.

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bitcoins now accepted here……

Selling online through sites such as eBay just doesn´t make for a good business model when you consider listing and transactions fees. We stopped offering the lencomotion bearing on eBay a few months back for this reason. In addition, using PayPal to transfer funds is an expensive option, and trying to recover fees in the price of the product often pushes it above the desired price point. There has to be a better way of doing business online where both seller and buyer aren´t forced to pay extortionate fees. Enter Bitcoin!

bitcoin_accepted

Over the last few months I have been investigating ways of accepting payments which are both secure, and keep tranactions charges to a minimum. Crypto-currencies seem to be the way of the future, and bitcoin is the most mature of these. I realise that there are some perceived problems with this option for online payments. The currencies are in their infancy at the moment and, as such, have rather volitile values. There is also the issue of buyer protection. Unlike PayPal, buyers don´t have a lot of options if products don´t arrive, or when they do arrive, aren´t as advertised. The volatility issue will sort itself out over time, and as long as both parties are happy with the bitcoin price at the time of purchase, this shouldn´t pose a big problem. Buyer protection is a more difficult issue to deal with. The best option available here is to look at the sellers past history. If customers haven´t been treated well then this will be apparent from negative feedback online. No business trading online wants negative posts on social media sites, forums, or blogs. This is particularly true of small cottage industries like lencomotion audio.

So, we are now happy to offer payment for items with Bitcoins should the buyer wish. We will continue to accept the more conventional methods of payment, PayPal and bank transfer. It is unlikely that there will be a rush by our customers to adopt the new payment method, but is is there for those who wish to use it.

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stereo coffee LDR preamplifier

Roughly four years ago I saw my first LDR, or opto-coupler pre-amplifier. I was intrigued by this unique approach to controlling the signal output to an amplifier, but at the time funds were limited, and I didn´t have time for another DIY project. Fast forward to the present and another DIY kit has come my way, the Stereo Coffee LDR pre-amplifier. This time both time and money were at hand, so I took the plunge and ordered the kit from eBay.

The kit comes as two pre-assembled PCB´s, the main preamp board, and a small regulator board. The stock kit comes with RCA plugs installed, but as I wanted to leave my options open,I asked for these to be left out.  All the builder has to do is install the boards in a nice chassis, and provide power. In an effort to keep things as simple as possible I chose to go with a 12V battery power supply with a switch to select between ´play´ and ´charge´.

As the PCB´s are already assembled the build time was spent on preparing the chassis. Once all the cut-outs and holes had been made, assembly took very little time. In total, it took a couple of evenings to complete and test before installing in my main system.

LDR03

Prior to completing this kit I had been using Khozmo passive preamp in in my main system. This is the modified version with Z-foil resistors, and is very neutral in presentation. When I swapped in the Stereo Coffee preamp I was really surprised at the difference. The presentation was clearer, and the soundstage slightly wider, with placement of instruments and vocalists more destinct. My gut feeling is that this pre-amplifier is very neutral adding little, if anything, to the source. To some this may be perceived as producing a ´clinical´ sound, but I would describe it as a lack of colouration.

The Stereo Coffee LDR pre-amplifier now has pride-of-place in my main system, and I can´t see it being replaced any time soon. If you are happy doing a bit of DIY this kit is a real bargain, and will surprise many when used in a well resolving system.

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a new lease of life for the 45 single

Just before Christmas I got a phone call from a friend asking if I wanted to come over for a glass of wine, and to see something that I may find interesting. Bottle of wine under my arm. off I went.

What followed was one of the most enjoyable evenings I have had is a long time. The object of interest was a very nifty turntable designed to play 45 singles, and nothing else.

s45.blog
Now, I haven´t given this vinyl format any thought since the early 70´s, and I was quite surprised to find that there are folks out there who collect, and listen, to nothing else.

I came away from the evening with a new appreciation for this format. It was surprising how good singles can sound on a decent system, and there is something to be said for the nostalgia they evoke. This was a far cry from my childhood memories of scratchy discs played on an ageing record changer, but the magic was still there.

I have since spent a couple more evenings listening to this nice little record player, and have really fallen in love with it. Certainly not an item for the masses, but there are folks out there seriously dedicated to the 45 single. I have now started hunting through the long ignored boxes of singles in my local record shops. Here in Spain there were a lot of classical pieces released on 45 singles, and the other day I found two wonderful Segovia guitar recordings from the late 50´s.

A more detailed description of the S45 record player can be found here.

http://blog.recordplayer.com/

For anyone with a large collection of 45 RPM singles, this is the ideal recordplayer for the collection.

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spindle extension for stacked platters

It has been a long time in development, but the lencomotion spindle extension is finally available.

Precision CNC machined from stainless steel, the lencomotion spindle extension is designed to fit snugly on to the bearing spindle. The second platter can then be fitted over the extension for a perfect fit.

The lencomotion spindle extension is available for both lencomotion, and standard Lenco bearings.

spindle_ext_prod

 

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lencomotion news

It has been a while since the last post here on the blog. We´re still here, but have been busy with a whole range of projects, as well as, catching up on orders.

The demand for the lencomotion cable was a bit overwhelming, and we have had to order extra cabling and connectors to meet demand. The workshop is now fully stocked with sufficient supplies to meet demand for the foreseeable future. We now offer selection of different phono plugs, and have added a tonearm cable to selection. More on this in a later post.

The bearing is selling well, and we have had lots of positive feedback. Unfortunately, most of the sales have come from our eBay listing and this venue for selling is becoming too expensive to continue. It makes the bearing much more expensive than it needs to be, and ordering direct from lencomotion is much more economical for both the buyer and us. A new batch of 20 bearing has just been assembled, and are now in stock ready for shipping. Anyone interested can contact us using the form here on the blog, or directly on this email address

We hope to post some interesting updates over the next few weeks, so keep an eye on the blog. It will be a mix of product updates and new offerings. There should be something here for all audio, and Lenco fans to enjoy.

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lencomotion interconnects

After much searching and trialing I have finally found a cable which is both affordable and offers the audio characteristics I am looking for. I have now replaced all the interconnects in my system using this cable and the sound is now very clean and neutral. The cable also offers good shielding, and this has lowered the noise floor of the whole system.

The interconnect uses a coaxial type cable with a 7-strand silver plated copper internal core in PTFE dialectic. The cable is low capacitance at 64 pF/m and is ideally suited for phono interconnects, and systems using passive pre-amplifiers. However, it also sounds excellent when used with active pre-amps and other system components as well.

I am making a limited run of these interconnects sheathed in white mesh and terminated with Neutrik Rean phono plugs, as per the following photo.  Interconnects are available in 1m and 0.5m lengths.

Prices are listed in the ´price list’ section of the site.

Cables can be made to order for any length, and terminated with a range of phono plugs. Pricing for custom cables will depend on cable length and termination hardware.

interconnect04

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lencomotion spindle extension for stacked platters

Over the past few weeks I have had a number of questions regarding the lencomotion bearing and stacked platters. In particular, was an extension for stacking platters available, or did the extensions currently available work with the lencomotion bearing.

I had a spindle extension made about 6 months ago for stacking platters on a standard Lenco bearing. This fit the standard bearing but the fit on the lencomotion bearing was a bit loose. While it worked it clearly wasn´t an ideal solution for the new bearing. So, time to design something new. My first thoughts were to go for a new spindle with a threaded top that would allow attachment of the extension. However, this would mean having another batch of spindles made, and the cost and time involved ruled this out. What was really needed was a simply insert that could be fitted to the top platter allowing it to be fitted securely over the spindle end protruding from the bottom platter. The result is the following prototype lencomotion spindle extension.

spindle_ext02

The extension is inserted into the platter bushing and the platter can then be fitted to the original bearing spindle.

spindle_ext01

I have had a couple of days now to play around with the setup and it all seems to work as it should. The prototype could be a bit longer by 3 to 4mm to make seating a clamp a bit easier, but this looks like the only modification that is needed.

spindle_ext03

The prototype was made from some scarp aluminium but the final product could be made from Delrin, stainless, or brass. At the moment I am looking to keep the cost as low as possible so that probably excludes the latter two materials. I´ll have a longer prototype made over the next couple of days and then, depending on time, and availability of materials, try and get a small batch of extensions made the first week of September.

At the moment I have no idea on pricing, material, or when the extension will be available. I would like to get this item out-the-door as quickly as possible, but as I do not make these myself, I am at the mercy of others regarding production schedules. So, keep an eye on the blog for future updates on this project.

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Lenco P77 tonearm restoration

Just over a year ago I managed to get my hands on an a rare and iconic piece of Lenco history, the P77 tonearm. Fortunately the arm was in excellent cosmetic condition and was only missing the anti-skating weight. However, when I tried to setup the tonearm I had a lot of trouble getting the arm to float. The vertical movement was not as smooth as it should have been, and on closer examination it turned out the vertical bearings in one side of the arm were missing. In their place were a couple of small brass disks, and a lot of grease. The solution to the problem was to replace the bearings in both sides with ball reaces.

P77 with ball races

This solved the problem and the arm now be balanced perfectly and, once setup, worked wonderfully.

This quickly became my main tonearm, and proved a perfect match for the Denon DL-103 cartridge. So, a few months after replacing the vertical bearing I decided that the arm would probably benefit from a complete restoration. One particular item that needed attention was the arm lift damping which was almost non-existent.

The arm pillar and housing was completely disassembled, removing the horizontal bearing races and spacers. The lift mechanism with damper and piston was removed, and all parts were inspected for wear or damage.

P77 breakdown

Despite being 40+ years old, close inspection of the parts showed no damage and very little wear. All parts were cleaned to remove the old lubricant and accumulated dirt using a good solvent. The ball races were given a good oil bath, after which they ran as smooth as the day they left the factory.

Next up was the tonearm lift and damping mechanism. In all the P77 arms I have come across the damping in the lift mechanism has been non-existent. The damping in this arm is provided by the brass block with the see-saw lever mechanism on the botttom right of the following photo. This is a sealed unit and, although it provide some damping, was no longer adding sufficient resistance to counter the weight of the arm when lowered. The solution was to use a ´sticky´ grease on the plunger shaft, and to reduce the spring tension on the assembly to a minimum.

damping assembly The re-assembled pillar assembly turned out to be much smoother running, and the tonearm lift now provided the necessary damping to allow the stylus to descend gracefully to the record surface.

pillar assembly

The counterweight was given a quick clean to remove the old grease. On inspection I couldn´t see any reason to completely disassemble this. Movement of the geared weights was smooth and there was very little dirt inside. What there was cleaned off easily, along with the old grease, with a little solvent.

counterweight

The arm, once back together, was ´dynamically´ balanced as per the instructions and then setup on a turntable. The difference was quite surprising. I had originally thought that the arm was free moving but the restored version proved just how much an old tonearm can benefit from a good restoration.

One item I didn´t touch on this arm was the wiring. The wiring from the headshell connector to the mini-DIN socket on the pillar shaft can not be removed without permanently damaging the connector. As this is a rare arm, and in good condition I felt that keeping it in original condition was more important then any gains that could be had replacing this wiring. However, it is possible to replace the cabling from the mini-DIN plug to the phono connectors. I haven´t done this with this arm, but may do so in the future. Since this restoration I have had the opportunity to restore two more P77 arms and in both cases have replaced the cabling from the small round circuit board to the phono plugs. Both have used shielded Cardas cable and, having had an opportunity to compare, I think there is an audible improvement.

completed arm

The benefits to be had from carrying out a proper restoration, or refurbishment of the P77 tonearm are well worth the efforts. This is a great high-mass tonearm and a perfect match for the Denon DL-103 cartridge.  I have a number of tonearms mounted on different Lenco turntables but find myself using the turntable with the P77 for most of my vinyl listening. It sounds great and is a joy to use.

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